Client: Equity Residential
Location: Pasadena, CA, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $440,000
Equity Residential and the City of Pasadena
Young Electric Sign Company
Isenberg and Associates
TimeKeeper is sited within the public plaza of the Westgate mixed-use development in Old Town Pasadena. It consists of four twenty foot high 16mm LED screens integrated into the building façades that front the plaza. The artwork uses time to reflect on Pasadena’s rich tradition as a City of the Sciences. Generative timekeepers, video explorations and live streaming content reveal underlying synergies; interactive apps allow one to explore at their own pace. The system controls that feed and maintain the artwork are located in a subterranean electrical room.
The process began early on in discussions with the City of Pasadena to ensure that the team understood its stated policy and goal that public art reinforce the identity of the city and encourage public dialogue. The concept for TimeKeeper grew out of those discussions.
From a design standpoint, the project goals were also significant to the development of the artwork. This plaza is the public face of Westgate and it was critical that the artwork be carefully integrated into the architectural design. The second and third floors of the buildings are residences, so we worked in close collaboration with Sternberg Architects and their consultants to ensure that the LED panels were carefully designed to fit within the solid portions of the building without creating unwanted light spill into the units. As a result of this requirement, we developed a “bleed edge” panel with our manufacturer YESCO, that fit seamlessly into the building design.
The collaboration began early with the Project Architects and their team of engineers so that we could determine and understand any technical issues that would impact the architectural design and construction. Simultaneously, we began to develop the LED panel specifications to design for light levels and image resolution that would be adequate for the artwork’s orientation and viewing distances.
The studio spent one year in content development. We worked with city historians and staff and researched local resources and institutions including JPL and CalTech for our collection of data. We shot footage on location, in and around the city of Pasadena, and created vignettes that were shot in our own photography studio. These video loops and stills were woven together with digital animations we created and named “timekeepers”. Our technical crew worked on the programming of the system for reliable access to live content from the internet and in the development of the platform for layering and shuffling of content.
TimeKeeper uses the concept of time as a means to reflect on the life of the city of Pasadena, to connect it to the broader community of science and global issues and as a way to understand ourselves within that context. It is like the old town square clock, but one that connects us to our past and to our future.